* Ivins committed suicide in 2008 before charges brought
* Others express skepticism that he was responsible
* Panel said Ivins had motive and means for attacks
By James Vicini
WASHINGTON(Reuters) - A panel of experts that
reviewed the psychiatric records of Army researcher Bruce Ivins
said it agreed with the U.S. Justice Department's finding that
he committed a series of deadly anthrax attacks in 2001.
"Dr. Ivins was psychologically disposed to undertake the
mailings; his behavioral history demonstrated his potential for
carrying them out; and he had the motivation and the means,"
the experts said in a 285-page report released Wednesday.
The report said his psychiatric records offered
considerable circumstantial evidence to support the conclusion
that Ivins mailed the anthrax-contaminated letters that killed
five people and sickened 17 others.
The panel's review "does support the Department of
Justice's determination that he was responsible," it said.
The department concluded in 2008 that Ivins, who committed
suicide that year as prosecutors were preparing to charge him
with murder for committing the attacks, acted alone in mailing
Ivins' attorney, some politicians in Congress, a different
group of scientific experts and colleagues at the U.S. Army's
Fort Detrick installation in Maryland have said Ivins was
innocent or have expressed skepticism that he was responsible.
The anthrax-lacked letters, sent to the news media and
lawmakers, jolted a nation that was at the time reeling from
the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and resulted in one of the FBI's
largest investigations ever.
The study, requested by a federal judge in Washington,
D.C., was conducted by nine experts in fields such as
psychiatry, medicine, toxicology, and terrorism.
The report agreed with the department that Ivins' motives
included career preservation. By manufacturing the scare, Ivins
showed the vaccine program he was working on was necessary to
protect the American public.
His psychiatric records should have prevented Ivins from
being hired by the United States Army Medical Research
Institute of Infectious Diseases and getting security
clearances to work with anthrax, according to the report.
It said the information never reached the Army facility
because of Ivins' omissions on medical forms and because
background investigators did not follow up on clues.
The report said healthcare professionals who had Ivins
involuntarily committed to a hospital in July 2008 "likely
prevented a mass shooting" as Ivins might have carried out his
plan to die by police fire.
(Editing by Paul Simao)
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